I’m an adult, but I feel like the friendship illustrated by Frog and Toad in the series by Arnold Lobel is as much an instruction and charge to me about how to be a good friend and parent as it is a good story for my kids.
In Frog and Toad Together, for instance, Toad gets it into his head to make a to-do list for his day. He’s being totally anal and the list is completely irrelevant, with items like “put on clothes” and “take a walk with Frog,” but he derives a great deal of satisfaction from following the list and crossing items out once accomplished.
If Toad were one of my friends, I think I would probably be inclined to scoff and tell him to shove the list. Frog, however, amiably accepts Toad’s list, and when it blows off, he exerts a great deal of energy to find it for his disappointed friend.
He doesn’t find it, and the sad Toad concludes that without his list to tell him what to do next, “‘I will just have to sit and do nothing.'”
Again, if I were Frog, I’d be like, “Okay you have lost your mind.”
Frog, however, sits with Toad. They sit for a long time.
There’s something very Zen-like in this sitting, and something very sweet about Frog supporting his friend Toad, without judgment or condescension.
I hope I can learn to sit with my friends when they feel lost and sad, instead of trying to make them do or be something else.
All of these sweet stories hum with similar themes of friendship so wide and deep that it stretches to hold whatever silliness or sadness or foibles the two of them encounter. I highly recommend them – to people of any age.